Funcom Full Youtube Link (Starts at 07:40): 04/21/2021 - Written Summary
Funcom staff sightings for this stream were (Youtube likely had people too, but I don’t have chat logs for that):
- Nicole Vayo (Community Manager) - On stream
- Andy Benditt (Community Manager) - On stream
- Bruno Guedes (Environmental Artist) - On stream
- Dennis Douthett (Lead Designer) - On stream
- Ignasis - (Community Support) - In chat
- Hugo - (Community Support) - In chat
- Mayra (Community Support) - In chat
- Dana (Community Support) - In chat
- Natascha (Community Engagement Director) - In chat
Here are relevant links for this stream.
Testlive Patch Notes: (Final update to Testlive was posted Friday, 4-21-2021)
Shout out to Testerle for his usual supply of the Twitch chat logs so that relevant quotes can be included in this recap. An extra special thank you goes out to Nicole for providing some extra notes to make my life just a bit easier.
Andy and Nicole have both received their vaccines. Per the CDC guidelines, they meet the criteria in order to be able to meet and be available on the developer stream together.
My Delay on the Stream Recap:
As most of you know, I work very hard on these dev stream summaries, most often concluding them within 24 hours of a stream after a very long 8-14 hour marathon of writing. This is by far my latest summary I’ve delivered, and for that I’m sorry. Two reasons for the delay is that one, I got sick. And two, well, I have another full time responsibility now that just started a few days before the stream. Here are a couple of pictures, maybe their faces will help you find forgiveness in my tardiness. Conan world, meet the puppers of destruction.
Lastly, as I usually do, the recap is a little out of order compared to when it was streamed. I put things into sections I felt most made sense for the purpose of the recap. Needless to say, this recap has a ton of spoilers, and there even be a section that will be of concern to anybody with a fear of Spiders (I’ll do my best to warn you when it reaches that section).
Bruno is an Environmental Artist for Funcom. He is originally from Portugal, and lives in the UK where he works remotely. Prior to working for Funcom, Bruno worked as a freelance artist. He was then hired to work at ZPX in Lisboa, Portugal nearly four years ago (ZPX is someone Funcom originally contracted for art assets in Conan Exiles early stages of development. Funcom in 2019 acquired a controlling stake in the company).
At ZPX, Bruno started out as a 3D Modeller, mainly props, building sets, weapons, saddles, and etc. He recently joined the Environmental Art team, where they take assets created by the Art team to decorate and flesh out the gameplay environments.
In terms of the 2.4 update, he and his team worked on the land mass expansions (though while he worked on all areas of the land expansion, he spent most of his time with the Isle of Dawn section). Bruno also was involved in some of the lightning revamps for Siptah that are coming with the 2.4 update.
As far as how Covid has impacted Bruno, in terms of working from home, he’s already been doing that prior to Covid (as previously mentioned, he lives in the UK despite the offices for Funcom being in North Carolina, Norway, and Portugal). In terms of communication, he said that it’s actually been a benefit for him since everybody is always online. However he acknowledged that there have been other challenges due to Covid, though they didn’t go into specific details.
Dennis has already been formally introduced a couple of times in past streams. But here’s a couple of interesting tidbits from today’s stream. He has two cats, two dogs, and two little boy’s whose 1 year old birthday was celebrated on the day of the stream (April 21st, 2021). His mom was also in Twitch chat for the stream, who Dennis proudly points out discovered Twitch all on her own.
Dennis starts out by talking about how the 2.4 update was originally meant for 2.3. However, when they decided to revamp Siptah (due to player feedback), this update was pushed back to what then became the 2.4 patch. To summarize, the 2.4 patch contains changes to address some feedback received about 2.3, as well as all the new planned content originally planned for 2.3.
The two major pieces to the 2.4 update are the new lands, and the new Zath religion (coming later in this recap). It also contains some various balance updates (more to come there), new goodies, and other usual patch stuff (optimizations, etc. See Patch Notes for full details).
The Lighting Revamp is for the Isle of Siptah only. Their primary goal was to increase the overall vibrancy, realism, and dynamism to all areas of the map. They wanted to make the lighted areas lighter, and the darker areas much darker (including at night, which are now much darker).
Here are some screen grabs from the stream with a before and after.
Bruno described ‘The Isle of Dawn’ (formerly known as the Savannah) as a large area with a lot of camps and temples. It’s also home to a new enemy faction, The Grey Ones. Stygian Mercenaries can also be found scattered around the area.
He also briefly touched on the role of Environmental Artists; how their role and job is to create these areas and story tell through the environment. They start out with prototyping the area, blocking it out with the help of Designers and Concept Artists with the end goal of having something that looks good and is fun to explore for the player. Finally, he also worked on some Optimizations for the new land areas in general to help make sure everything runs well.
One of their goals with the Isle of Dawn was to visually share some DNA with that of its counterpart map, the Exile Lands. Bruno even talked about how when he played on Siptah he missed the Exile Lands, so getting to work on something that replicates it was fun for him.
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
One of the newest activities for players was inspired by the Howard story of the Black Pool. The Black One’s would take people, place them into this pool, and turn them into statues. For the new activity, Funcom reversed that. All over the Isle of Siptah players can find statuettes. If taken to one of three Grey One pools, they can summon the enemy that is contained within the statuette and battle them for loot (including Fragments of Power).
Note: The footage (and screencaps from the stream) for the Isle of Dusk are not taken at night, these were taken at noon on the game clock.
The Isle of Dusk (formerly known as the Ash Lands) is intended to be a stark contrast from that of the Isle of Dawn. It is also home to another new faction, ‘The First Men,’ where remnants of the once mighty civilization now exist. Along with ‘The First Men’ faction is a lost Citadel containing many undead types of enemies; while in another part of this area Sandbeasts can be found.
Dennis (who came on the stream later at 33:51) described it as a winding Volcanic region where you may end up getting lost at times. He also said that there are some small activities to do in the various camps. While one of the major activities players can do is the ‘Forge of the First Men,’ which is similar to the Volcanic Forge in the Exile Lands. The new Grey One weapons (more on that later) require this forge in order to create the proper materials.
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
Like the Isle of Dawn, players familiar with the Exile Lands will feel at home in the Floodlands. It houses a few new enemies including the Corrupted Panther, Corrupted Baboon, and Man-Apes. They have also added Dragons to the area, along with a scattering of other wildlife and human NPC’s.
The Floodlands is intended to be an area where players can build their bases. It has many different locations for players to build unique structures.
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
Inspired by the lore of the Conan Universe (Pool of the Black Ones, specifically was mentioned), these Grey Ones inhabit the Isle of Dawn section of the map. Dennis said they were given their own little “twist” so that they fit into Conan Exiles. It is unknown how or when the Grey Ones made it to the Isle of Siptah, though the environment art suggests they have been there for some time.
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
The First Men lived on Siptah prior to the Maelstrom’s existence. Many of the older races retreated into their Vaults when the Maelstrom started up, while the First Men retreated to the south.
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
Devolved First Man.
Zath, like other religions, is getting its own weapons (not all Zath based weapons or tools are pictured). In addition to that, there is the Grey One Weapon set. On stream, Dennis incorrectly stated that every weapon was made for the Grey One set. However, post stream, he corrected this statement and informed me that the Javelin is the only weapon missing from the set.
(Hey, I’m not complaining. For people who use my Javelin Improved mod, don’t you worry, I’ll be making a Javelin one way or another).
Here are some screencaps from the stream.
Grey One 2 Handed Axe
Grey One 2 Handed Spear
Grey One Axe
Grey One Dagger
Grey One Hammer
Grey One Katana
Grey One Mace
Grey One Shield
Grey One Short Sword
Grey One Sword
Grey One Two Handed Sword
Grey One Bow (at the time they took these screenshots, they had issues with the textures with the Bow at the time. I took a very quick and dirty screenshot from the dev kit)
New armors are also part of this update. The First Men set’s theme is meant to be something that could be seen as improvised, or thrown together using available materials.
First Men Light Armor
First Men Heavy Armor
As Dennis mentioned in the last official Deverloper Stream, the other two sets of the Dragonbone Armor have been included in the 2.4 update (the 2.3 update added the Dragonbone Heavy Armor set).
Dragonbone Light Armor
Dragonbone Medium Armor
Grey One also has a set of armor.
And finally, there is the Zath armor. The earliest versions of Testlive featured a different looking armor set, but they decided to change it up and make it look more “spider gody.”
The new Zath religion can be found on both the Exile Lands and the Isle of Siptah. Naturally, a religion based around worshipping a spider god means that the entire religion is based around spiders. When summoning their avatar, small spiders rain down in the sky in what is typically a god ray (for other religions). Upon completion, a giant controllable spider is summoned.
Dennis said that they were given the “directive” to make it as creepy as they could.
Shown in the following gis is the laying of eggs attack, which hatches friendly spiders to attack all targets in the area. These eggs are on a timer. Upon the timer completion, the friendly spiders spawn. However if an enemy (anything that isn’t part of the same clan) runs into the egg, it will cover the player in spiders and spider webs, along with doing damage over time.
Not shown in the stream is the Avatar’s other attack, which is a long distance spit venom attack that deals poison and damage over time on the impact site. This attack can be used at distance as a sort of siege Avatar, but the further away the Avatar is to the attack location, the less damage the spit attack will cause.
And of course, Zath has its own religious altars that can be placed (Tier 1-3, though only the tier 3 altar was screenshotted for the stream). The altar’s visual progression are inspired by the story, which has statue’s of spiders that come to life.
Not pictured but discussed during the stream is the Zath Ritual Dagger, which is the religious tool. Part of Zath’s lore is that he is a god of thieves, so the Ritual Dagger being decorated with gems reflects that. The dagger is used to extra Venom Purified Blood from enemy bodies.
Along with the two weapons and armor set (previously pictured above), there is also a placeable statue to show your true love of the Spider god. There is also a unique feature when harvesting from specifically spiders. Gathered from a Spider corpse is a sack, which can contain more loot or body parts, or be used as a crafting ingredient to extract gossamer. Finally, and also from the stories, is what is essentially a marble from another dimension. When thrown, it will spawn a spider to attack nearby enemies (these do not count as a Follower, so you may throw it while also having a Follower with you).
Damage has been reduced while on a mount, something closer to the damage of a normal combo. They also removed the status effects (such as bleed with the Spear). As Dennis explained it, players will naturally gravitate towards the best options, whether that is considered overpowered compared to other mechanics or not. Since the horse combat was so powerful, for many players it became the only way to play the game. Ideally and the target of these changes is to change it so that mounted combat remains a viable option, but not the only option.
The bow balance went on quite the journey through Testlive. It started off as a wide reaching balance change (which can be viewed on the Testlive patch notes), with removing armor penetration entirely with a few exceptions made for Legendary Bows. This ended up being too much of dramatic change, with the lower level bows feeling particularly bad.
It ended up with them reverting all the changes, with only the Hollow Bone Arrows seeing an adjustment made after everything was said and done. Dennis described the Hollow Bone Arrows (and Ambrosia was mentioned in the same vein) as an “artifact of the past.” He said that they were part of a system that was uniform previously, but when they updated it they missed some things which caused them to be overpowered in the newer systems. The Hollow Bone Arrows were originally meant to only work with the Hollow Bone Bow, but they lifted those restrictions.
Ultimately, they decided that Bows are in a good place, and targeted and fixed the one outlier that needed a proper look at.
Dennis notes that the dodge has been changed as of 2.4 (as many have no doubt noticed by now). He estimates that they go about 20% further when compared to version 2.3. This will hopefully allow players to be able to gain enough distance and just that extra little bit of time to grab a healing potion or readjust your tactics.
How Dodge recovery times are factored, and how dodge speed works has also been changed. Previously, the armor class dictated what type of roll would be given (the heavier the armor, the slower the dodge). It is now based on the level of encumbrance of the player (how much weight they are carrying).
Thus, this allows players to spec into encumbrance and wear heavy armor, while still allowing for a fast dodge. The intention is to reward players with the ability to have a greater choice on which armor they wish to use, with the overall weight of the character factoring into those decisions as well (how much encumbrance, what to bring with you into combat, etc).
Recovery speed is still modified by the amount of agility (the more points in agility, the faster the recovery will be coming out of the dodge).
Dennis added that they are still reviewing healing potions and that they may make some changes in the future, such as speeding up the animation. They are trying to be more conservative with their approach to healing so that they don’t go too far in one direction, with small changes over time to get things to where they should be.
As many on the forums also already know, unintended animation cancelling has been heavily adjusted or fixed (animation cancelling meaning putting the weapon away during combat and bringing it back out, as well as using off handed items to cancel the animation). They’ve been intentionally targeting methods of animation cancelling as they have been able to pin them down, with the intention of making the experience more consistent for all players. Players who knew how to abuse the system in unintended ways had a severe advantage over players who either chose not to do the same, or didn’t know how to.
Overall, Dennis believes this change will give players a more even playing field, and a more polished experience in the end. They believe and intend to properly balance the game better in the long run with these changes as an established base. For example, up for discussion is to make two handed weapons more powerful. With animation cancelling off the board, Dennis says they can make them a high risk, high reward type of weapons, and more rewarding.
Even before the changes were made final, Funcom knew that this would be seen as controversial. Andy said in the long run, it’ll be healthy for the game overall as they can now move forward with changes and additions to the combat system they previously couldn’t properly visit due to the unintended animation cancelling.
The climbing animation has been changed in 2.4. Some player feedback during the 2.4 Testlive felt that the new climbing animation made climbing too slow. However, the actual speed in which the player climbs has not changed. It’s just an effect of the climbing animation looking different or slower. But in terms of units moved per second, they are the same as they were in 2.3.
Swimming was also changed a good amount. Players will no longer see themselves lose stamina as they are swimming. The intention was to make it so the experience of losing stamina was the same in the water as it is on land. While on land, when you are jogging or walking, you regenerate stamina. This is now the same for water. In addition, like on land, there is the ability to swim faster for a short period of time that drains stamina (sprint key).
Previous to the 2.4 update, players could escape combat simply by swimming in the water. This is no longer the case, as players can now use any 1 handed weapon under water.
With the 2.4 patch, when a player dies, they have the option of quickly putting everything back to where it was before just before death. In theory, all a player needs to do is select the Loot All button and they will instantly equip everything again.
However, post stream it was discovered that this feature only works on Single Player. It is being worked on so that it works on Servers as well.
Originally intended to be available for the launch of 2.4, Server Transfers have now been delayed for a future patch. They didn’t feel it was in a ready enough state for the 2.4 launch update, as they want to ensure it’s as bug free as they can.
Both Andy and Dennis mentioned they are also making several changes based on previously received feedback (and reiterated they want to hear that feedback). The initial version was and is meant to be a starting foundation to which to build upon further. The first version that was testable made it a permanent transfer where the player would lose their bases entirely when transferring from server (map) to the next. Making returning to the previous map having little to no incentive. This is a feature they are currently working on.
What players will see for sure will be the ability to upload your character from the server it’s on, and transfer it to a server that the player doesn’t have any characters on. On the character creation screen, you’ll be given the choice of importing the character (along with anything that was on that character and inventory). Currently, if players upload a character from a server and they are the last in the clan on that server, all existing buildings and followers will decay. While players with multiple members in a clan will be able to transfer back at a later time (though as previously stated, they are looking at keeping existing buildings and followers viable after transferring off the server).
They also recognize that this could be a very powerful system, and are thinking about ways to avoid abuse. For instance, there is a server transfer hierarchy that must be obeyed. It goes like this.
Official PvP —> Official PvP, Official PvE-C, Official PvE, or Unofficial Private Server
Official PvE-C —> Official PvE-C, Official PvE, or Unofficial Private Server
Official PvE —> Official PvE or Unofficial Private Servers
Unofficial Private Server —> Unofficial Private Servers
Once a transfer is done to a lower hierarchy, it cannot be reversed. Meaning, you can’t take a character from a Private Server to any Official Server, nor can you take an Official PvE character and transfer it (or back to) a PvP server.
There will also be a cooldown for server transferring, likely based on which server the player is transferring to. Dennis said (albeit very clearly stated was subject to change) that he believed the current discussions was for a 1 day server transfer cooldown period for PvE servers. For PvP, they are either going to have it be 1 week, or are considering putting it to 1 week if there are issues. Obviously the major concern for PvP is having an alpha clan server hop and wipe out server after server in quick succession.
For transferring to an Unofficial Private Server, the feature must be turned on and allowed (it is off by default). Players can transfer to any map type as well, whether that’s official maps (Exile Lands and The Isle of Siptah), or modded maps (such as the Savage Wilds map). You can even take an Official Server character and transfer it to a modded map.
As previously mentioned, everything that is in the inventory or equipped on the character during transfer will come with that character. This also includes feats, attributes, and recipes learned. The intention is to allow players to be able to transfer to new maps to learn feats, recipes, and acquire near gear that is exclusive to those maps that couldn’t be gained on the existing map the character is on.
Dennis said that while the server transfers wouldn’t be part of 2.4.0, they could end up coming a couple weeks after initial release of 2.4. Though obviously this is no guarantee, and everything is subject to change. Once everything is finalized for initial release, they will have all of the details available in a future blog.
Server Transfers currently will not support mod data. If there is any unofficial/mod data on the character upon transfer, it won’t be uploaded to the cloud. Dennis said that this is something they can look at and work on. He acknowledged they are looking at ways to make the system better, and adding character mod data is a fantastic way to improve the system.
As far as limiting where server transfers come from for Unofficial Private servers, this is also currently not possible. Currently the only way to limit it is to set a private password on the server and give that out to only people you want to be able to transfer to the server.
The feature is off by default via an ini setting, and it requires a server restart to set.
They are currently working on the Thrall cap. One of the things still being worked on is the final number they want to settle with. Dennis said they obviously want to give players a heads up so players don’t lose Followers they don’t want to. He also mentioned they want to give players a way to recapture Followers. He described it in a way where the player saves a Follower they don’t want to lose, and removes the ones that they do. They are working on systems for it, but it will be a little while before they are done and ready to implement the system.
No, they are not going to be wiping servers, whether that’s The Isle of Siptah or the Exile Lands. The real only exceptions for this are things like with the 2.3 update, where major parts of the map were changed. In that case, players were given notice far in advance, along with locations of affected bases, and a resource bonus to help those players move.
They implemented that system specifically because they have said, they will not wipe servers. Instead of wiping an entire server with the 2.3 update, they mitigated the damage to only areas that would be affected. Funcom doesn’t want people to lose their stuff if it can be helped in those types of cases, so they did their best to help with the transition to affected players.
But for full on wipes to any server, as has been stated in the several times in the past, no.
There aren’t any current plans to do so. Dennis said that as always, that could change in the future based on need.
The player who asked this specifically suggested that a “boat feat” be required in order to access Siptah, instead of having a character import process. However, the framing of the question suggested the player believed that this could all be done on one server.
Dennis starts out with saying that this is a very large technical hurdle. As many players already know, servers that are already under heavy load (whether that’s a lot of players, or a lot of data) already have the burden of processing all of that information as it is. Adding a second map would double the requirement. (This has also been a subject of discussion on the forums for years, there are multiple points of data that discusses these technical challenges and others).
What they could do is link two servers together (in a type of cluster), and allow people to server transfer that way. Though he acknowledged that there is a financial burden on players having to then be required to rent two servers instead of one (thus often doubling the cost, depending on the 3rd party server provider). That’s also in addition to the financial costs for Funcom as well.
Dennis said that while it isn’t something they are visiting now, a type of character loading screen (instead of a character transfer system) may be something they visit later down the road. All of it will be subject to internal discussion as time goes on, but the character transfer system will be their main focus for the time being.
Conan Exiles is currently running on a heavily modified 4.15. Dennis said that they will “almost definitely never upgrade to 4.26.” He goes on to explain that they have a “hefty amount of edited engine code,” which all but locks them down at 4.15. Andy talked about how that while players often perceive this as a simple process, it really is not. Dennis also described past instances of projects he was on where upgrading engine versions was a very complex undertaking.
(Not discussed in the stream was the fact Conan Exiles itself went through an engine upgrade during it’s very early stages of Early Access. Even then it was a technical challenge to complete, and that was long before many of the key systems of Conan Exiles even existed).
Other projects they are working on internally are on modern versions of the engine, along with future potential to upgrade to Unreal Engine 5. Key word here being potentially.
PvE-C servers on Playstation currently continue to have issues. At the time of the stream, players on those servers for Playstation were concerned about decay timers being on and losing all of their work. Since the Stream, Funcom has turned off decay on those servers until they are able to resolve those issues.
There is also still an issue with Co-Op not being able to be played correctly, and Funcom is working on that issue as well. At the time of the stream, Dennis emphasized that both problems are something they are actively working on resolving as soon as possible.